Rhode Island’s locally administered pensions face $2.5 billion in unfunded obligations and most have less than 60 percent of the money needed to meet their long-term obligations, according to a new report from General Treasurer Seth Magaziner.
There are 35 locally administered pension plans in Rhode Island. A state law passed in 2016 calls for an annual report assessing the health of these local pensions.
The latest findings include a little good news. Funding for 29 of the 35 plans has increased since 2012, thanks in part to a rising stock market. And most of the local pensions have met or exceeded their scheduled contributions over recent years.
But the fundamental problem remains unchanged. That’s because the local pensions have $2.5 billion in combined unfunded long-term obligations. And 21 of the 35 plans are less than 60 percent funded, meaning they are considered to be in critical condition.
"While some of Rhode Island's locally administered pension plans are in strong financial condition, others remain underfunded," Magaziner said in a statement. "It is my hope that this report will be a resource to all stakeholders engaged in policy discussions on the strength and sustainability of municipal pension plans."
The report was completed by Advisory Council on Locally Administrated Pension Plans, a volunteer group.
The committee is composed of Auditor General Dennis Hoyle, state Director of Revenue Mark Furcolo, Lincoln Town Administrator Joseph Almond, and AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Maureen Martin.